Negative thoughts are a big problem for some people.
We do not always see it, but oftentimes, it is our own negativity and fear that keeps us from evolving and growing as people.
Stress, sadness, anger, and more should be included as negative emotions.
Negative emotions are those which do not provide any sort of positive utility and simply act to reduce your happiness and increase feelings of unease or unhappiness.
We have an almost epidemic problem with negativity today. So many people complain that they are not happy, that they are overwhelmed, and do not know how to stop the cycle of stress that envelopes them.
We often look at happy people as if they were a different species, or even, from a different planet. They are not privy to information that is beyond the rest of us.
Rather, they have learned how to adapt to reduce the burden negativity has on their minds and bodies.
What follows are just a few of the so-called tricks that happy people use to dispel or reduce the burden of negative thought.
1. Look for the bright side.
There is a positive and negative side to pretty much every element or aspect of life.
What we see often depends on what it is we are looking for.
Some people are able to find that proverbial silver lining in even the most bleak of situations. There is always something good to be found, if we want to look for it.
One of the biggest things that happy people do to reduce the influence of negative thoughts on their minds and bodies is to allow it minimal time in our heads and hearts.
It does not come naturally at first, but we can consciously make an effort to look for the positive, not negative, in any situation.
Refuse to acknowledge negativity and see how how it begins to impinge less and less on your happiness.
Happy people understand that negativity is part of life and rather than focus or dwell on this fact, they choose to look for the positive elements of any situation and focus their attentions on that.
2. Understand the negativity spiral.
The brain is an interesting and sometimes frustrating organ. Even when we don’t want it to, the brain seems to be able to latch on to our fears, our failures, and negative thought and then run with it.
Happy people understand how easy it is to become mired in an endless cycle of worry and negative thought.
To avoid the spiral, they do not give negative thought any more time in their head than is absolutely necessary.
As noted above, there is no way to remove all negativity from our lives. Dealing with it, accepting it for what it is, and looking for a positive means to move forward is the path of the happy person.
Understanding this is the first step to being able to heed their advice and do this ourselves.
Stress and negativity have a tendency to snowball if we let them, and this is how small problems end up being monumental issues in our minds.
3. Cultivate habits to banish negative thoughts.
We need to remember that we have control over what takes priority in our minds.
While we cannot avoid all negative thought, we can work to look on the bright side and understand the inherent problems of the negativity spiral.
However, when a negative thought comes, we need to be able to get rid of it in a healthy, adaptive way.
Activities such as mindfulness are great ways to help banish negative thoughts.
Mindfulness allows you to be present and aware of any negative thoughts, see them for what they are, without judgment, and then let the thought go.
Other things like meditation and positive visualization have also proven to be very helpful at reducing the weight that negative thought has on us.
Over time, these more adaptive techniques will become like second nature and you will automatically start to become present, quiet your mind, and think positively, when faced with something negative.
4. We’re as good as the company we keep.
Negativity can be contagious, or at the very least, stand to bring us down. We have to remember that we are sensitive to the emotional states of others and will react as a result of this.
What this means is that when we surround ourselves with negative people, negativity tends to be all we see. The same is true when we surround ourselves with happy people.
Happy people will tend to support and foster happiness in others, and unhappy people, though they may not mean to, will do the same.
It is important to look at your friends and family to see if there are negative people who are bringing you down or working against your happiness.
We have a choice of who we have in our lives, and we can choose to let negative people go, or we can try to bring them on our journey to happiness with us.
5. Be grateful and share.
Happy people know there are many reasons to be happy.
Positive, seemingly inconsequential things happen all the time. Same with negative things.
Notice the positive and don’t give credence to the negative.
Gratitude is a common trait of happy people.
They make sure to let their loved ones know how important they are to them, treat them with loving-kindness, and as a result, are more likely to get this back in response as well.
Always say thank you, sorry, and accept apologies. If you have extra, share.
Trouble shared is trouble halved, or so the saying goes. Gratitude shared could be seen as happiness doubled.
Today, if we lack anything, it is an understanding of how to be happy.
So often, we look at happy people and think “they must know something I don’t.”
In a way, they do: they understand that they can alter their perception of reality and choose to be happy. Negativity is only as powerful as we let it be.
Following the tips described above will allow you to have some amount of power over negativity in your life.
With these lifestyle and attitude changes, we can take back control from a negative thought and banish it from our lives once and for all.
These things will not prevent negative or unpleasant things from occurring in your life, but they do give you the tools you need to keep it from negatively affecting you and impinging on your happiness.
With effort, these attitude changes will become second nature and negative thoughts will have no place in our head or heart.
Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Fusion Model, where she has a number of Guided